Advice for Shines – Follows

Question by User septembrskamuca

Ladies, what moves are your go-to when dancing with a partner he suddenly gives you the sign to do a little solo while he does the basic step and watches?

I’m a beginner and I’ve noticed some partners really like to do this, where they sign to the lady to do a little solo and for a beginner this is quite scary since you usually aren’t confident enough to dance on your own in front of a partner. Are there any moves you ladies like to do in particular at that moment or what would you advise to a beginner as a go-to move to ease into solo dancing?


User LaSerenaDeIrlanda

It’s so easy to freeze up during that time! I like to keep it simple for the most part so I don’t get tripped up over choreography cause I missed a step. Maybe a broken left turn, Suzy Q, double Suzy Q, single axel turn, some mambo steps or an around-the-world. Normally I’ll try to end with a body roll or something as my way of saying “come back please!” The key is really in the styling, so if you get those moves to look sharp, you’ll look FANTASTIC!

User double-you

I have to say, that as a leader, I never do that. “You dance, I’ll watch.” Seems rather off-putting. Unless perhaps the lady is really show-offy, in which case it might be what they like.

If it is time for shines, I do them myself too.

Start with the basic. Don’t stop, keep dancing. A right turn is always okay (well, so is a left turn). I hear a body roll is often effective, and it is!

User mstoltzfus97

Haha… As a beginner lead who enjoyed a little shine-session in pretty much every dance, the amount of times that I would let the follow go and immediately see the look of terror in their eyes at being left alone is quite comical.

That said, I’m a huge fan of simply enjoying the dance… As a beginner myself, all I need for a dance to feel fulfilling is to see that my partner is having just as much fun with the dance and music as I am. As mentioned, something like a SuzyQ followed by a body roll (or a shoulder shimmy/chest pop if you want – though I mostly see those done by leads) is prolly gonna be fine. Also, with a little styling, even the basic can become one of the most beautiful shines a follow can do. Also, would recommend learning a shine routine on Youtube or two and then tweaking it or styling it how you prefer. A simple shine routine can go a long way for both a lead and a follow (and gives you something to do if you really don’t want to improv your way through a few bars of music).

P.S. – As I’ve gotten more accustomed to the social dance scene and “feeling out” a dancer’s level of experience, occasionally I’ll do the whole “mirrored shine” thing where you do just very basic moves with a partner mirroring them. Those are by far the most fun, because it’s basically a little improv session – but those rely somewhat on the lead and follow being on the same wavelength. That said, if the lead is doing a fairly basic shine routine, feel free to mirror do it too… They might catch on and you might have the funnest dance of your night.

User gumercindo1959

Ah yes, the classic shine freeze. TBH, stick to basics and try to add your own little flare to them. When I used to have shine mental block, I’d always stick to real simple things like Suzy Qs, stepping on core beats (1/3/5/7), etc. I also find that stepping on every beat while traveling back/forth/side to side/angled made it look like i was doing something fancy but I was just stepping on every beat and mixing up the direction.

Add a few axel turns and shimmies and you’re good. Don’t overthink it. Over time you’ll feel more comfortable doing more things. I now have a few different 8 count mini routines that I use that I’ve stolen from larger choreo routines. I’ve got these little mini choreos down pat and can break them out whenever.

Lastly, when I do shine, I try not to do it more than a few 8 counts (as long as the music calls for it).

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